This Week in the Big Ten

Feb. 20, 2011


[ONE // big ten continues celebrating black history month]
The Big Ten Conference continued its celebration of Black History Month this past week by featuring six human-interest stories on representatives from Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State and Purdue.  On Monday, the Big Ten highlighted the career of Indiana track and field standout Faith Sherrill, followed by stories on Ohio State wrestler Corey Morrison, Michigan pioneer Gene Derricotte, Iowa jumper Peaches Roach, Purdue pass rusher Rosevelt Colvin and Minnesota basketball standout Crystal Flint.

[TWO // a buckeye legend, a big ten icon]
Once known as "The Buckeye Bullet," and eventually the world's greatest athlete of his era, Ohio State's Jesse Owens was named this past week as the No. 3 Big Ten Icon by the Big Ten Network. Presented by Discover and hosted by Keith Jackson, Big Ten Icons continued on Sunday with an essay on the legendary Buckeye.  If Red Grange’s four touchdowns in 12 minutes in the 1924 Illinois-Michigan game were a seminal moment for college football, Owens provided a comparably historic one for track and field when he set three world records and tied a fourth within 45 minutes at the Big Ten meet in Ann Arbor in 1935.  Click here to learn more about Owens in his Big Ten Icon locker. 

[THREE // hoosiers earn three-peat in the pool]
Congratulations to the Indiana women’s swimming and diving team, which successfully defended its Big Ten Championship in its home pool in Bloomington on Saturday.  The Hoosiers amassed 821 points over the four-day event to earn their third-straight conference crown. Minnesota finished second with 578 and Ohio State was third with 456. Penn State tallied 391 points while Purdue compiled 355.5 points to round out the top five in the final team standings.  Indiana took home four individual Big Ten titles and a relay crown while head coach Ray Looze picked up Coach of the Year laurels.  Minnesota's Kelci Bryant received Big Ten Diver of the Championships after sweeping the springboard events for the second consecutive year. Teammate Jillian Tyler was tabbed Swimmer of the Championships for her sweep of the breaststroke events.  Penn State's Chelsea Weedman earned the nod for Freshman of the Year after her performances in the 200 butterfly and 400 individual medley. Bob Rydze of Iowa picked up Diving Coach of the Year, the first time since the 1986 season a Hawkeye won the award.  First- and second-team All-Big Ten honors were also announced and a list of those selections can be found by clicking here.

[FOUR // a duel for the dual wrestling title]
Speaking of Big Ten titles, the second-ranked Iowa wrestling team won its fourth-straight regular season conference title with a 19-12 victory over No. 5 Minnesota on Sunday afternoon at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. The Hawkeyes closed out the 2010-11 dual meet season going 15-0-1 and posting their fourth-straight 8-0 record in Big Ten competition, while extending their unbeaten streak to 77 duals. Up next for Iowa is a trip to the 2011 Big Ten Championships, which will be held March 5-6 at Northwestern’s Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.

[FIVE // notes from the hardwood]
As we moved through the middle of the month of February, several headlines were made on the hardwood this past week.  Purdue’s E'Twaun Moore scored a career-high 38 points and eclipsed 2,000 for his career to lead the No. 11 Boilermakers past No. 2 Ohio State 76-63 on Sunday, which left the Buckeyes just one game ahead in the conference race with four to play.  The Purdue win capped off a week that saw the top four teams in the AP Top 25 lose a game, including future Big Ten member Nebraska upsetting No. 3 Texas 70-67.  Saturday night in East Lansing marked the scene for ESPN’s College GameDay where Kalin Lucas scored 25 points to lift Michigan State to a 61-57 win over Illinois.  A day later, the Spartans’ women’s team saw a similar performance against a similar opponent with Kalisha Keane scoring 27 points to beat Illinois 69-56 and clinch a share of the Big Ten.  The Spartans, who also earned the top-seed for the Big Ten Tournament, claimed a share of their first conference title since 2005, the same year they advanced to the national championship game. Michigan State also won a share of the 1997 Big Ten Championship.  Staying with women’s basketball, congratulations to former Indiana women’s basketball standout Tara VanDerveer and former Northwestern assistant coach Tex Winter on being named two of the 12 finalists for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.  On Sunday night, former Illinois standout and current Utah Jazz star Deron Williams scored 5 points and dished 7 assists for the West team in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game, while Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, the father of current Indiana senior guard Jeremiah Rivers, guided the East squad from the sidelines but fell short in the 148-143 loss.

[SIX // big ten trio names to midseason naismith trophy list]
Three conference standouts were named to the Naismith Trophy midseason top 30, it was announced by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Monday.  Iowa's Kachine Alexander, Northwestern's Amy Jaeschke and Ohio State's Jantel Lavender all remain in the running for the postseason honor, which is presented annually to the nation's top collegiate player. The Naismith Trophy will be awarded on April 4 at the NCAA Women's Final Four in Indianapolis.

[SEVEN // walk…or run this way]
The third annual Big Ten Hoops Day 5K is set to return to Indianapolis as part of the 2011 Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments, it was announced on Monday. The run/walk is scheduled for Sunday, March 13, at 11 a.m. ET and leads up to the excitement of the men’s championship game. Registration for the Big Ten Hoops Day 5K is $20 if you sign up in advance at or $25 on-site.  Participants are encouraged to display their favorite Big Ten university’s colors with t-shirts, face paint, flags, etc. Music and a basketball shoot-around will help participants warm up before the race.  The event starts and finishes on Pennsylvania Street in front of Conseco Fieldhouse and winds 3.1 miles through downtown. Last year’s 5K featured more than 1,200 runners and walkers that represented all 11 Big Ten schools. Purdue University alumni and fans claimed the traveling trophy for being the Big Ten institution with the top individual performances.

[EIGHT // gophers top big ten baseball poll]
After winning the Big Ten’s regular-season and tournament titles last season, Minnesota was named the conference favorite for 2011, the league office announced on Tuesday. For the first time in conference history, the Big Ten baseball coaches voted on the top six teams and also selected three players from their teams for a Players to Watch list.  Also among the top six projected finishers for the season were No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Indiana, No. 4 Michigan State, No. 5 Iowa and No. 6 Ohio State. The complete Players to Watch list and top-six preseason poll can be found by clicking here.

[NINE // big ten falls to big east in baseball challenge]
After opening 3-5, going 4-4 on the second day, and closing with a 3-5 mark, the Big Ten fell 10-14 to the Big East in the third annual Big East-Big Ten Challenge, hosted by the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission.  Michigan State carried the banner for the conference by capturing all three of its contests in the challenge.  Penn State and Purdue were both 2-1 over the three-day span, while Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio State were 1-2 and Iowa and Michigan were 0-3.

[TEN // softball duo earns class honors]
Illinois' Danielle Zymkowitz and Michigan's Dorian Shaw were named Wednesday to the list of 30 candidates up for this year's Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for softball, awarded annually to the student-athlete who excels both on and off the field.  To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.

[ELEVEN // lovin’ london]
Finally this week, USA Track & Field announced Thursday that Illinois women's head track and field coach Tonja Buford-Bailey was nominated to serve as an assistant coach for Team USA's track and field squads for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.  For the third time in her career, she will assist Team USA at an international competition with her focus being on the sprints/hurdles for the women's team.  A 1993 Illini graduate, Buford-Bailey became the head women’s track and field coach at her alma mater in 2008 after serving as an assistant since 2004.  She was a three-time Olympian, earning a bronze medal in the 400m hurdles at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta to become the first female Illini athlete to win an Olympic medal. She also made the Olympic teams in 1992 and 2000.